NEW ULM - Stashed away down at the No. 9 spot in the batting order, New Ulm's Sarah Nelsen still found a way to make the Fairmont Cardinals pay.
Nelsen came up big with two hits and three RBIs in the bottom of the order, helping New Ulm to a 14-0 South Central Conference season-opening win over the Cardinals Thursday at Harman Park.
Nelsen was 2-for-2, including a double and a two-run single. She finished with three RBIs and a run scored.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm shortstop Brittany Hoffmann catches the ball before tagging out Fairmont’s Kayla Schmidt (3) during the Eagles’ win Thursday at Harman Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Nelsen said the success at the plate came in large part from working hard before the season even began.
"Just overall, with practice, we work hard," Nelsen said. "Working hard pays off."
The Eagles showed the value of that hard work right away. They scored three times in the bottom of the first off Cardinals starter Kaylea VonFeldt. The big hit in the inning came on Kelsy Kannegiesser's two-run triple to make it 3-0.
Nelsen made her mark in the bottom of the second, as her double was the third straight for the Eagles in the inning and that put New Ulm up 5-0 at that point.
Doubles by Kali Denn, Hope Capp and Nelsen to start the inning were followed by an RBI single by Brittany Hoffmann and another big hit by Kannegiesser, this one a two-run double. That put the Eagles up 13-0 after two.
In the inning, Denn had two hits and scored twice and Capp scored twice also, the second time coming after she reached on an error. Nelsen had a two-run single later in her second at-bat of the inning.
"I take being at the bottom of the order not as a negative thing, I think of it as 'hey, you're at the bottom of the order, you keep it going,'" Nelsen said.
While the Eagles were scoring plenty of runs, their pitcher was keeping them off of the board. Sydney Schuck got into a few minor jams, but she pitched her way out of runners on second and third in both the first and second innings.
Schuck pitched the first three innings, allowing four hits and one walk. She struck out four before giving way to Kannegiesser.
"It's nice, because it's a different setting," Nelsen said of Schuck's start. "The other teams aren't expecting it and so we catch them off guard and it does work for us."
Kannegiesser was just as smooth, striking out four in two innings. She walked three and didn't allow a hit nor a runner past first base.
New Ulm scored one more run in the third inning, this one coming when Kannegiesser scored on an RBI by Ellie Schneider.
New Ulm finished the game with 14 hits while the Cardinals managed four hits.
Sydney Ruen had two hits and Rachel Tschumperlin and Kristen Campe each had one hit for the Cardinals.
VonFeldt allowed 13 runs in two innings for the loss. Taylor Schultze pitched the last two innings, allowing one run on four hits.
After a short break, New Ulm (1-0) gets back to business Tuesday when it hosts Marshall. The Cardinals are at St. James on Thursday.